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Fired Up about Jesus – Part 1

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
June 20, 2021 3:00 pm

Fired Up about Jesus – Part 1

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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Welcome to Living in the Light with Bible teacher Anne Graham Lotz. The four things I see in this passage that helped Peter maintain his fire as he reflected on them. One, he reflected on the grace of God in his life. Two, he reflected on the gifts of God in his life. Three, he reflected on the glory of God in his life. And four, he reflected on the gospel of God in his life. Welcome to Living in the Light and the Bible teaching ministry of Anne Graham Lotz. Today's message is titled, Fired Up About Jesus. You can't have a godly legacy in an ungodly world if there is not a vibrancy in your faith.

And that's exactly what Anne wants to talk about from 1 Peter chapter 1. The last seven years of my life have been very difficult. And for three years, I stepped aside from traveling and from speaking, and I concentrated on social media and on the radio and stayed home to take care of my husband. And he was in deteriorating health, but it was a joy of my life to take care of Danny Lotz for three years full time. And then I found my husband unresponsive in our pool. And I rushed him to the hospital, put him on life support. Two days later, we disconnected him from life support. And my husband went to heaven. My daddy went to heaven also.

And at 99, you would think we were expecting it, but actually we weren't expecting it that time, that morning. And the thing about my husband and my daddy, they both left without saying goodbye. And I don't know if you've had that experience, but there's no closure.

You just feel like one more time you'd like to say, I love you and I'm going to miss you and thank you and, you know, but you don't have that chance because they're gone. And then I was diagnosed with cancer. And very same day, the years previous, I found my husband and went through surgery and follow-up treatments and all of the rest.

And so it's just been years of horrendous challenges. And I want to say as clearly, as emphatically as I can, I'm fired up about Jesus. And I've never loved Him more. I've never trusted Him more. I've never believed in Him more. I've never wanted to serve Him more.

I've never longed to see Him more. As for me and my house, we will love and obey and serve the Lord with all of our hearts. Amen. And I don't think you can leave a godly legacy in an ungodly world if there's not a vibrancy to your faith. If your faith in your relationship with Jesus is dull and boring and ho-hum and you get more excited about a ball game or something you see on TV or who's going to be on Dancing with the Stars and you get more excited about that than you do about the Lord Jesus Christ, then how can we pass the truth on to the next generation? They won't care.

They won't want it. So for you and me, I think it's imperative that we be fired up about Jesus if we're going to leave a godly legacy in an ungodly world. And this is something I wanted to ask the Apostle Peter.

And you know, I sort of did. And you stayed fired up to the end of your life. And at the end of his life, the Apostle Peter was imprisoned. He was facing execution.

Tradition says he would be executed by crucifixion upside down. He was living in an ungodly world because Nero was on the throne. He proclaimed himself God, told people to worship him. When they didn't, he poured out persecution on the Christians. He burned them at the stake, crucified them on crosses, and fed them to the lions. And it was a very ungodly world in which Peter lived. And Peter, imprisoned, facing his own execution by crucifixion upside down. I can just see him standing there with his arms crossed and looking down through the centuries at you and me, and long gray beard, weather-beaten face, maybe still tanned from his years on Galilee, eyes twinkling and saying, I've been beaten. I've been imprisoned. I've been flogged. I've been persecuted.

And I want you to know something. I'm still fired up about Jesus. And we would say, Peter, how do you maintain your fire? And there are four things that I believe he reflected on that helped him maintain his fire. So if you turn to 1 Peter chapter 1, the first 12 verses, I'll read them to you since you may not be as familiar with them as other passages.

And then I'll pull up the four things that I think helped him maintain his fire as he reflected on them. But he says, Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ to God's elect. Strangers in the world scattered throughout Pontius, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father through the sanctifying work of the Spirit for obedience of Jesus Christ and the sprinkling by his blood. Grace and peace be yours in abundance. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade, kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power unto the coming of salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith, a greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire, may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Though you have not seen him, you love him. And even though you do not see him now, you believe in him. And you're filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you're receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Concerning the salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, when they spoke of the things they have now been told by those who have preached the gospel to you, by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven.

Even angels long to look into these things. The four things I see in this passage that helped Peter maintain his fire as he reflected on them. One, he reflected on the grace of God in his life. Two, he reflected on the gifts of God in his life. Three, he reflected on the glory of God in his life. And four, he reflected on the gospel of God in his life. So let's look first of all at the grace of God in his life.

He says it has three aspects to it. And the first is Peter says, I was chosen by the Father. And if we could go back and remember when Peter was chosen, or when he first became aware of it, he was on the Sea of Galilee, mending his nets and his little brother Andrew came up. Well, I actually don't know if he was his little brother or not. For some reason, I think of Andrew as a little brother, but it doesn't really say that.

He was his brother. And he came up to Peter and said, Peter, I've met the Messiah. And Peter looked at him, Andrew, how would you know if you met the Messiah or not?

Peter, just come and see. So he took Peter and Andrew and Andrew introduced him to Jesus of Nazareth. And I think Peter might have said he is a good man, he might have been a prophet, but he would never say he was the Messiah. So Peter went back to his fishing boat and several days later, he's mending his nets and he sees the same man, Jesus of Nazareth, walking along the shore.

And he's followed about this great crowd of people. And Jesus called out to him and said, Peter, can I come into your boat and preach from your boat, sort of like a floating pulpit? And Peter said, sure, you know, there's nothing better to do. And so Jesus climbed in his boat and he preached to the crowd. And after he preached, he turned to Peter and he said, Peter, he said, let's go fishing. And Peter looked at him and said, Jesus, I'm sorry, the fish aren't biting. He said, I've been fishing all night.

I haven't caught anything that would be futile today. And Jesus, I wonder if he just looked at him and I was twinkling and said, then Peter, let me take you fishing. And Peter might've thought, you know, what does a city boy from Nazareth know about fishing?

But anyway, so he said, okay. So they pushed out from shore and they went fishing. And when he fished the way Jesus told them, and he put down his net, they brought in so many fish, the net broke. And the impact on Peter's life was dramatic because he fell down on his knees and he said, get out of my life.

You make me feel so dirty. And Jesus said, Simon, your name means wishy washy, impulsive, compulsive. I'm going to change your name to Peter because you're going to be so steadfast in your faith.

You're going to be like a rock. Peter, you follow me and I'll make you a fisher of men. And Peter dropped his fishing net and he climbed out of that fishing boat and he left his father's fishing business and he became a disciple of Jesus of Nazareth. Now think about it for a moment. Out of all the people living on planet earth and all the people living in Judea and all the people living in Galilee and all of the people living in Capernaum, how was it that Peter was chosen by the father to be a disciple of his son?

That's just God's grace, isn't it? What about you? When did you become aware that you've been chosen by God to belong to Jesus?

When did you first hear? Who was your Andrew? Who told you about Jesus? Maybe it was your pastor in church or a youth leader in some church camp or maybe it was at your mother's knee or watching daddy on television or one of his meetings or reading a book or reading your Bible and somehow you knew that Jesus was your Savior, your Lord, and you claimed him for yourself and asked him to be your Savior and come into your heart and you were born again into his family.

And when was it that you became aware that yes, you chose Jesus to be your Savior and Lord, but yes, God chose you to belong to the son. Don't get all weirded out by predestination, you know. I love what Jerry Falwell said. He said the more he preaches, the more God chooses.

So, but it's a blessing. What an amazing grace of God that of all the people living on planet earth, all the people living in the United States, all of the people living in your state, all the people living in your city, all the people living in your neighborhood, why would you be chosen by the Father to belong to the Son? And yes, you chose to and you heard the gospel and you received Christ by faith, whosoever will may come. It's a very inclusive invitation, but you turn around, you walk through that door of salvation, you turn around and those who he foreknew he predestined from the foundations of the world and you found you were chosen by the Father.

What security is there in that? God doesn't make wrong choices. Chosen by the Father is a love gift to the Son, and not only chosen by the Father, but he was being sanctified by the Spirit, he said. And to be sanctified, you know, we're changed from glory to glory until we become pleasing to the Father and conform to the image of Christ. And Peter, I can't imagine how much that meant to him because he was such a failure. And you remember when Jesus took him up on the Mount of Transfiguration and Peter went to sleep in the middle of the night, there's this blazing light and he looks up and he sees Jesus transfigured and his glory and the light coming from him was as brilliant as the sun, but it wasn't reflected, it was coming from within Jesus and you're standing there with Moses and Elijah and Peter just blurts out, you know, oh my goodness, we've got to build three tabernacles, one for Moses and Elijah and Jesus and God leans out of heaven and says, Peter, would you get with it? You know, Jesus isn't one of the boys, he's not like one of the prophets, he stands in the solitude of himself, this is my son, you listen to what he has to say. And then Jesus asked Peter, you know, who do you say I am? And Peter said, I believe you're the Christ, I believe you're the Messiah, I believe you're God walking the earth in a human body. And Jesus said, Peter, you've said, well, only God could have revealed that to you. Peter, I'm going to the cross. And Peter, who had just said Jesus was the son of God, said, no you're not, I've got a better plan for your life, you're going to sit on the throne, you're going to rule the world, I'm going to rule with you. And Jesus said, Peter, Satan is speaking through you. And then do you remember when Jesus warned Peter, you're going to deny me? And Peter said, Lord, I don't know about these other disciples, what they're up to, but I will never deny you, I will die for you.

And before the cock crowed that Friday morning, he denied his Lord three times. When Jesus took him to the Garden of Gethsemane and said, Peter, I need somebody to pray with. Peter went to sleep. And Jesus came back and woke him up and said, Peter, I just need somebody to pray for me. And Peter went back to sleep. Third time, Jesus didn't even bother waking him up. But when Peter finally did wake up, he saw the Roman soldiers placing Jesus under arrest.

And so he pulled out his sword and aimed for the nearest head. Peter, you know, he had been sleeping when he should have been praying. And when you do that, you don't know what the will of God is.

Have you ever done that? You know, you sleep when you should be praying. He had no idea what God's will is. And so he went to fight the Roman soldiers and cut off the ear of the servant to the eye. And Jesus said, Peter, put up your sword. And Jesus healed Malchus' ear, even while he said, I could call on 12 legions of angels if I wanted.

I intend to go to the cross. The cup that the Father has given me, shall I not drink it? Peter was a failure again and again and again.

It was sort of his MO. In what way have you failed? Have you failed as a parent?

Have you failed as a sibling? As a boss? As a church worker? As a ministry leader? In business?

As a neighbor? Failure is so painful, isn't it? Especially when it's repeated. When you begin to listen to those whispers in your ear, you're just a failure. You never amount to anything. You're just a failure. You never amount to anything.

You're just a failure. I failed in many ways, and I won't recount them here, but it made it very special. I was sitting in an audience like this, and dear old Dr. Alan Redpath was preaching, a great preacher from Great Britain. And he asked the audience in which I was seated, this question. He said, what do you think God expects of you?

And I was thinking, well, obedience and holiness. And he asked again, what do you think God expects of you? And I thought, well, read my Bible and pray.

And he asked again. And I thought, well, I'm going to pray. And I thought, again, what do you think God expects of you? All God ever expects of you is failure.

And I wanted to say, I can do that. I can live up to the expectations of God. And then he said, but he's given you the Holy Spirit that you need never fail. In our flesh, in our old nature, we can do nothing to please the Lord. Just failure after failure after failure, even if it looks like we're successful on the outside in God's eyes, nothing we do amounts for eternity. But in the Spirit, when the Spirit takes over and the Spirit's leading us, then working through a 2 Corinthians chapter 3 says, we're being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. And as we behold him in scripture and we read our Bibles and we apply our Bibles and we obey our Bibles and we live it out, no matter what it costs us, and we live it out, then the Holy Spirit changes us from glory to glory.

That's character to character. Until one day, John says in 1 John, that old nature is going to drop off and we're going to be like Jesus. Praise God, we're being sanctified by the Spirit. And if you've been a failure, then take a lesson from Peter.

It doesn't have to be final. You turn your life over to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. And if he can make something out of Peter, he can make something out of you and he can make something out of me.

And he gets the glory, doesn't he? And the third thing, he was not only chosen by the Father, being changed by the Spirit, but cleansed by the Son, by the sprinkling of his blood. When I was a little girl, lived right across the valley, I was eight or nine, I remember it was a good Friday, I don't remember the exact year, but I was watching a picture of Jesus, about Jesus, on television and came to the crucifixion scene and I felt deeply convicted that Jesus was dying because of my sin. And I got on my knees beside my bed in the upstairs room and I told God I was sorry and asked him to forgive me, that I wanted Jesus to be my Savior. I believed he died for me and I asked him to be my Savior, to come into my heart.

I believe I was born again on that day when I was eight or nine years of age. And at that time, at that point in time, when I asked for forgiveness, I was forgiven of all of my sin because all of my sin, past, present, and future, all of it was future to Jesus 2,000 years ago when he died, right? So when he died and he offers you forgiveness for your sin, it's not just the sin of that day or, you know, up until that point in your life, it's all of your sin, for all of your life, is under the blood of Jesus. You're forgiven, you're forgiven, you can just live in your forgiveness. But we're continually cleansed by the Son because we still sin. I don't know about you, but I still sin. And when I sin, I need to come back by faith to the cross and confess my sin, not for forgiveness.

I'm forgiven, you understand? I don't have to repeat that prayer, the sinner's prayer, because I know I'm forgiven, but I come back for cleansing, that my relationship with the Lord might be fresh and clean and that there might be that intimate fellowship between us that sin can hinder and block. Peter, in John chapter 13, Jesus was washing the disciples' feet and he came to Peter and Peter said, oh no, you're not going to wash my feet. And Jesus said, well, Peter, if I don't wash your feet, you can have no part in me. And so Peter said, well then, Lord, wash me all, you know, from head to toe. And Jesus said, Peter, you've been washed from head to toe, all you need is your feet to be washed. And in other words, when we come to the cross and we're forgiven of our sin, all of our sin is forgiven and we don't have to come back to the cross for forgiveness, we just come back to have our feet washed. We just come back to confess our sin that we would be cleansed and restored in that relationship with God. I know Rachel doesn't like me to use this illustration, but she was a student at Baylor University and I was on the phone with her.

We live in Raleigh, North Carolina, long way away, and we had a disagreement on the phone about our course load, I think it was, we can't really remember the details, but anyway, disagreement. She hung up and I tried to call her back and I couldn't get her, I left messages with her roommates, she wouldn't call me back and as it happened, I was speaking in Dallas and so she was at Baylor and so I got in the car and I drove down to Baylor, showed up on her doorstep and she was surprised to see me and I cried and she cried and I told her I was sorry for pushing her in the course load that I thought she should take and she said she was sorry for the way she had handled and anyway, we both cried and prayed together and our relationship was restored. The point I want to make, she never ceased to be my daughter and I never ceased to love her, but our fellowship was broken because of that situation. If you've been born again into God's family, you will never not be born again, okay? You can, you cannot lose your rebirth, you cannot lose your salvation. Once you're born again, that's forever and you're a child of God, yes you are, but sin will come, when it comes into your life, it can make you feel like you've lost your salvation and even the smallest sins can so come between you and the Lord that you lose that sweet, tender fellowship that you had when you were first saved. So who here needs their feet washed before you go to bed tonight? Ask the Lord to bring to your conscious mind if there's some sin, some habit, some attitude, something you've done, something you haven't done.

You know, he saw it anyway, he knows about it, so you're not going to be telling him something he doesn't already know, but he's waiting for you to come and confess it to him. He is faithful and just, he will cleanse you of all unrighteousness, but you and I have to come and ask for his cleansing. Peter, can you imagine the grace of God in his life, that he was chosen by the Father to be a disciple of the Son, that he was being sanctified by the Spirit and the Spirit would take this failure who had repeatedly failed and turn him into the apostle that preached at Pentecost and established the early church and opened the door for the gospel to go to the Gentiles and who would think a failure could do all that, except for the sanctifying work of the Spirit, and he was being continually cleansed by the sprinkling of the blood. So as he reflected on God's grace in his life, I think he was fired up about Jesus.

And then it wasn't only God's grace in his life, but God's gifts that kept him fired up. And in verse three, he talks about the living hope of the resurrection. So you can imagine Peter, you know, after he'd been to the cross and seen Jesus die, knew he was buried, and Sunday morning he heard Mary banging at the door where he was huddled with the other disciples in the upstairs room, opened the door. Mary was saying something about grave robbers. The tomb was empty and he and John ran through the early morning streets. They came to the tomb. Peter ran inside. It was empty, just like Mary said.

He went out and couldn't make sense of it. And then later the women came to the tomb, and you remember they came and the angel said to them, Jesus is not here. He is risen.

Go and tell his disciples and Peter that he's risen from the dead. And then do you remember the two disciples later that afternoon, Sunday afternoon, those two disciples were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus, and Jesus came and walked with them, but they didn't know it was Jesus. And so he talked to them along the way, and they got to their house and broke bread with him, and when he broke the bread, their eyes were open. They knew it was Jesus, and then he disappeared from him.

They turned around. They ran all the way back to Jerusalem, and they burst in that upstairs room, and they said, we've seen the Lord. He's appeared to us and to Peter.

So somewhere in between when the women saw him and when the disciples on Emmaus rode some, he had had a personal private encounter with Peter, and Peter had experienced the risen Lord Jesus Christ. Can you imagine when he knew the last thing Jesus ever heard him say was, I don't know him. I don't know him.

I don't know him. And when Jesus was being led from the house of Caiaphas to the full Sanhedrin, and he stopped and just looked at Peter, you know, that searching gaze of love, and Peter, I told you. I warned you. Satan has desired to sift you like wheat, but I've prayed for you, and when your faith is strengthened, you'll be strong enough to strengthen others. And now Peter was confronted, experiencing the risen Lord Jesus Christ. Can you imagine the thrill of the living hope of the resurrection? Peter facing his own execution, meeting Jesus alive after death. It was confirmed to the fact that there is life after death. This life is not all there is. The best is yet to come.

Now that's thrilling. It's thrilling, even when we're not facing it, just to know, and at this stage in my life, I know it sooner than later, but I know that I'm going home, that I have eternal life, and because of the resurrection of Jesus, he has opened heaven for me and for you. And not only that, but I think the resurrection, the living hope of the resurrection means that failure is not final, that God gives a second chance. Peter beside Galilee, do you remember when Jesus came to him after the resurrection, and Jesus fixes breakfast for him, and then he asks him three times, Peter, do you love me? Allowing Peter to confess his love since you denied him three times, and then Jesus said, Peter, if you love me, do something about it. I want you to serve me. And Peter, I wonder if you thought, me? You want me after what I've done, after all my failures, and after I've denied you, and Lord, you want me to serve you? Oh yes, I want to serve you. This has been Living in the Light. Please take advantage of all the free resources at angramlots.org to help and encourage you in your walk with God and in your study of his word. Join us here each week for Living in the Light.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-02 00:28:40 / 2023-11-02 00:39:41 / 11

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